Excerpt from Steve Carper’s series “One-and-Dones” that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7–9:
“Bob Hope’s first book, They Got Me Covered, a self-published curiosity from 1941 that’s of interest because it sold four million copies[!] and launched Hope’s long book career of putting his name on his writers’ output. Pepsodent, the sponsor of his hit radio show, is the real publisher, although the company’s name is nowhere to be found except inside the text. Listeners had the connection beaten into their heads nevertheless by the relentless plugging he gave the book on his show and the fact that it sold for a mere dime if you accompanied that with a box (a complete box, not a box top) from a tube of Pepsodent.”
Meanwhile, McFarland has published Steve Carper’s Robots in American Popular Culture. It’s available directly from McFarland Books. And be sure to check out the companion website robotsinamericanpopularculture.com.
Life magazine’s October 27, 1941 profile of Bob Hope: “His most pretentious work, They Got Me Covered, a riotous autobiography, is in the tradition of Josh Billings, Bill Nye and Petroleum V. Nasby, and he is showing signs of developing into a cracker-barrel philosopher.”
They Got Me Covered is a collection of Bob Hope’s quips, cartoons, and photos. Steve Carper reveals the full story behind this 95-page, digest-sized paperback in The Digest Enthusiast book six.
An excerpt from Steve Carper’s article for The Digest Enthusiast book six:
“Quick. What’s the bestselling digest paperback of all time? Here are some hints. It appeared in 1941. It was self-published. It sold four million copies. And you’ve probably never heard of it.
“If none of those things seem at all probable, here’s the wholly improbable story of Bob Hope’s They Got Me Covered.”
A sample of the quips inside:
“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance—waiting for the bathroom.”
“I get letters written in all languages: French, Spanish and unmentionable.”
“You know what a fan letter is—it’s just an inky raspberry.”
Steve Carper’s website <FlyingCarsandFoodPills.com>, a history of the Future as seen through 19th and 20th century eyes, led to a book in progress, the first comprehensive history of robots in popular culture. That led to a semi-regular column about robots on <BlackGate.com>. His digest novel collection has passed the 1000 milestone.